If you are interested in Social Media you would have no doubt heard about Instagram. You are also probably aware that Instagram allows user to take photos with their smart phone, edit them and share them with friends. The question is, what does that mean for a business and how can they use this social media platform to communicate with their target audience? Well wonder no more as we are about to tell you how!
Why Is Instagram Important?
- There are 80 million people using Instagram worldwide
- In Australia there are apparently 1,500,000 according our friend at SocialMediaNews.com.au
- 54 of the world’s top 100 brands are using Instagram, so there must be some value in it
- When done properly, Instagram need not be expensive
What Can Instagram Be Used For:
- Instagram can be used to build brand awareness
- Instagram can be used to build a viral campaign
- Instagram can be used to build relationships with customers through creating your brand’s personality
- Instagram can show off products and services
- Instagram can make your audience feel special through receiving exclusive content
If any of this sound like something your brand wants to achieve, please keep reading.
How can your business use Instagram?
By taking photos of products and services:
Instagram also allows businesses to demonstrate product use and ideas. By showing before and after comparisons shots, you can emphasize the use and effect of your product, adding a wow factor to your Instagram content. This is an effective way of promoting and gaining new customers. Sephora, a French makeup company, used Instagram to demonstrate the effect of one of their more unusual products, as can be seen below:
By Showing Off Your Brand’s Personality:
Posting photos on Instagram that provide a glimpse of a day in the life at your office, you can show off your brands personality, work culture and even inspire people to work with your company. Another key way of engaging followers through your brands presence on Instagram is by taking them with you wherever you go. Post photos from events and shows, giving your followers a better understanding of the causes and events your brand attends or sponsors.
Provide Sneak Peaks and Exclusive Previews:
Another way Instagram can be used by businesses is by posting photos which offer followers a sneak peak and exclusive previews of products and services. This can also include giving followers virtual tours of your new stores, production facilities or offices in the making. By humanizing your company, followers feel special as they view original content which is often shared and reposted. An example of this is by the footwear company Keen, who posted a photo of the construction of their future headquarters.
Use Hashtags (#HashTags #Are #A #Must):
Why do we use hashtags (#) on Twitter, Instagram and other mediums? Because hashtags unite people that are talking about the same topic. For example if I put a picture of myself in a Halloween costume up on Instagram, I can include “#HalloweenCostume” in the description of the photo. Then people who want to see pictures of “#HalloweenCostumes” can search for that hashtags and will be able to see my photo and comment on it.
How does this work in a business situation? Lets use the example of a business that sells fascinators and their target market would purchase one of these products to wear at say, the Melbourne Cup. Please see photo below:
An appropriate description, with hash tags could be “Our new #fascinators have arrived! Check out this #purple number, perfect for #MelbourneCup. #Fascinator #HorseRacing #Fashion”. As you can see, the image description targets multiple hashtags and increases the potential reach of each post. This image has the ability to target people searching the terms:
What was the cost? Simply the time it took to take a photo and write the post and that business will now show up for anyone who searches the above terms.
Use Branded Hashtags:
What is a branded hashtag? A branded hashtag is a hashtag that contains your brand name in it, and another word which is the topic of the hashtags. Here are some potential examples from Famous brands:
- You get the idea…
Instagram allows businesses to engage with their customers through comments, likes and hashtags. By creating a branded hashtag you are encouraging your audience to post content about your brand to their friends, hence expanding the awareness of your brand. In order to get your audience to post about a branded hashtag of yours, you must give them some form of incentive or at least something interesting to comment on.
Marc Jacobs Case Study:
A great real world case study of how branded hashtags can be highly effective for your business is the recent Marc Jacob’s campaign which asked users to share photos of their family moments, using the hashtag #Marcfam. The company would then choose photos to include in their online blog; a great way of creating customer engagement through the incentive of giving their followers fame.
Levis Case Study:
Levi’s did a similar Instagram campaign recently in which it encouraged its followers to post photos with the hashtag #Iamlevis. This branded hashtag was highly successful, as thousands of users uploaded and hash-tagged. Selected photos would then be used in Levi’s upcoming print campaign.
Take Aways From These Examples:
The reason people got involved in interacting with these branded hashtags was that they wanted fame. For Marc Jacobs that was having their pictures on a blog, for Levi’s that was having their pictures in a print ad. Hence give people something they want in realtion for interacting with your branded hashtag and you can increase your brand awareness virally.
So are you guys fans of Instagram and how do you think businesses can use this social media platform?